Fragments of pink plum blossoms drift across our patio. The locust trees outside my bedroom windows are sporting new green shoots. It’s no coincidence that Resurrection Sunday – Easter – comes in the spring. All the new life bursting forth so suddenly surely connects us physically with the story of Jesus’ bursting forth from the tomb.
Besides the itchy eyes and runny nose that comes with Spring, I find myself filled with new energy. The sun wakes me earlier and earlier everyday, and rather than early mornings making me more tired at the end of the day, I find that the longer days just make it harder for me to shut down in the evening. In May, we look forward to Pentecost, the festival of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the Christian Church. Talk about energy; the Spirit of Jesus blows through the fear and doubt of Jesus’ first followers with such power that they become unstoppable in their witness to the new life they have experienced.
As is our tradition, on Pentecost Sunday we will confirm four young men who have been preparing to step into their adult faith over the last two years. Cameron Griggs, Justin Glass, Andy Carlson, and Connor Chaney have read the Bible together, studied the Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They will stand before our assembly and make their own statement of faith and affirm the vows made for them when they were baptized as babies. You have helped to make this confirmation of their faith possible by your contribution to this ministry and this community in which they’ve grown up.
Jesus passed on his work in the world to those men and women who followed him and worked with him when he was alive. He trained them to go out and tell the world about him, and to continue his work of healing, feeding, visiting, and giving hope. Alive in the Spirit, they burst out into their world proclaiming the Good News that had been handed to them, and practicing all the arts of love they had learned. And this work is now passed on to us as God’s people in the world today. Bringing children to faith and nurturing their growth is part of that work, and the Holy Spirit inspires us to be creative and enthusiastic in our commitment to it. The Holy Spirit is always at work among us to lift our hearts in worship when we sing and when we pray. The Holy Spirit is among us, too, when we see the losses and lacks in our community and it inspires our desire to do something to alleviate the pain we see.
In some ways, Jesus in the tomb is a lot safer than the Jesus who bursts forth among us with fire and energy. When Jesus was dead, we could just leave our offerings and go home to get on with our lives. But with Jesus’s Spirit blowing through our lives, we are no longer able to ignore God’s desire for transformation of the whole world. The Spirit of Jesus at work in our hearts and in our gathering means that we have new eyes as well as new life. We now see the work God wants to accomplish in the world, and we know that we are sent to do it. May the fire and new life granted us by God in Easter and Pentecost give you the itch to get to work being the people God has created us to be. Come Holy Spirit, fill us with your love!
In God’s unfailing love,